I borrowed this quote from USC football coach Clay Helton as the title for my blog this week.
Today it has multiple meanings for me. It applies so well to many aspects of my life: To my volunteer football coaching. To my role as an entrepreneur. To my role as an investor in a startup. To my new role as a not-for-profit board member. To my role as a boss conducting performance reviews.
Coaching. Managing. Leading. They are roles that are so subject to criticism these days, it’s become an epidemic. I am puzzled as to why.
People need to be held accountable to standards. However, they like to complain if they perceive being micromanaged. They like to complain if they feel their boss is too hard on them. They like to complain if their boss changes their mind.
Why all the complaints?
Perhaps the boss is micromanaging as a result of your demonstration that you’re not yet ready to lead. Perhaps business circumstances have changed, meaning that direction and strategy need to follow suit. Perhaps your boss isn’t being hard on you, but merely raising expectations because they believe you have the talent to do more.
While people like to complain about being managed, lead, or coached, they are also quick to seek out “mentorship”. Everyone wants a mentor these days. An older advisor. A soul mate. A pal.
Mentorship today has become a cop out. It’s a place where people can seek feedback that they can pick and choose from, based on what suits their liking. Sure, the best coaching, managing, or leading includes mentorship. Being a good mentor is as simple as being a good listener. Equally as vital for a good boss. A bad mentor, and a bad boss, doesn’t listen or hear your point of view.
But make no mistake, being a good listener doesn’t mean your boss is always going to agree with you. They usually have information, experience, or insights that you don’t. So let’s stop being so offended when they set a direction or a course of action. Very few bosses are picking a course of action to be intentionally stupid or mean, as you no doubt have accused them of behind their back.
Today I borrow Coach Helton’s words to reframe the discussion. Instead of finding a reason to complain, you should be grateful that your boss, coach, leader, manager is taking the time to provide you direction. To me, nothing could be worse than being ignored.